31 December 2010

I am drinking mint tea and thinking about maybe participating in a graduate seminar on the history of the book with a professor who I idolize for his nuanced and beautifully written scholarship. It's history of the book or history of medicine, both of which come with challenging, exciting projects, neither, though, of which are very sexy. I wrote to my old psychologist for advice and go for it is what he suggested. I failed badly when I was his patient, I would always lose my nerve. Initial reading for the class arrived via e-mail and historiographically I get exactly where it is coming from: the class I am finishing has set it up perfectly (the same is true in reverse: the new ideas have for once issued a brainstorm to tie up loose ends on an old project). Taking the class was like staring out the window on a long train trip, only I was staring at a numbingly boring discussion.

I have been watching a lot of hockey (boring/stimulating), collecting books and not thinking about what I can do to cope better. I wonder about the extent to which being forced to show that I will take medication has left gaps in conversations, and about how much more I give up now, relying on a pill. Sometimes I think that I generally coped better when I cared intensely about the music I was listening to, but most music now annoys me, grates on my nerves. Then I coped by eating less, dampening my physiology with long walks and a little starvation, which would have not helped me to think better. Now I take a long-acting sedative every night, knowing that it impairs my memory and mental sharpness, but willing to take the trade so that I can be calm enough to write sentences. I could be calmer still if I took another antipsychotic, but so far the matches have caused me to lactate, raised hormones linked to causing cancer, and caused me to gain weight at an alarming and irritating rate.

I am not sure whether I am talking myself in to or out of things.

30 December 2010

my cat deserves a distinguished-looking photo of himself in cushioned splendor.

29 December 2010

One of my former professors had published a book. Her language now not incomprehensibly continental, though it is, and humorously, slightly psychotic. I read it with delectation.
My sister's masks, her ways of being around other people, require a lot of work. She demands a high degree of attention and playing along. Plus it's emotional, everything is emotional to her. Each time my mother remarks that she finds it exhausting. With me it's different. My sister calls it overreacting, the way she goes for the jugular when I finally say something. Around her I retreat into myself; she interprets interaction as rigidity and selfishness. I think it's called an aristocratic temperament.

26 December 2010

The grocery store is still closed and I have run out of antipsychotic, the only antipsychotic that does not come in tablet form. By three pm I feel vomitous. I rummage and come up with 80mg capsules, twice too much now that I take a divided dose. I open one up in the kitchen and start dividing the powder in half with a bench scraper. "Are you going to snort that?" my sister asks. "The delivery system would be too fast," I reply, "I'm going to sprinkle it on stewed plums." "It will still metabolize faster," she says, "try taking half." Sound advice. Five minutes later she was completely crazy again.

24 December 2010

"Are you done with this?"

"We can't throw away the jam cosy, grandma crocheted it with her arthritic hands."

"It looks like... (turning up the rim) a cat hat. Wait, I'll get the camera."

And so the cat posed, in all his Christmas glory, bracing himself on my knees but purring and keeping his cap upright. In one photo the flash makes his eyes glow.

23 December 2010

"Why" is generally a good question to ask people, both in terms of generating conversation and nurturing a good relationship.

22 December 2010

I have fallen off the success wagon, all the way to academic purgatory. At this point I would rather die than try to write another word.

20 December 2010

I am guilty of doing this. Not literally, but in other contexts.

19 December 2010

At the family gathering my sister got upset looking when I walked over to say hello to her. She walked away before I could. It wouldn't have been such a burn if she hadn't been corresponding friendily all week. She avoided me all night while talking about her illness in detail with relatives she never sees. Afterwards I wanted to punch her.

The only things she will complain about are things she remembers selectively and unfairly... and the truth is I don't have the emotional capacity to hold her while she does her worst.
My dad has five brothers. Four of them have kids; the fifth has a wife who sings in a classic rock band in which he plays guitar. We get together the week before Christmas. Grandma, who is 81 and all there, advises me to stay out of the kitchen, so I visit with her and check out a fourteen year old cousin's fingernail painting skills on her iphone. There is wine but not everybody drinks, and there is potluck supper. My uncles get excited about bean bake and cinnamon buns. There are gifts for the little ones, who go totally bananas for football jerseys, electronic drum sets, and a baby is a wicker basinet. Grandma gives everybody jam and hand knit dishcloths. Then everybody sings, with the guitar and without the guitar. My uncle Bruce, who is hot in an athletic, clean-cut, got five kids kind of way, is making Crown Royal and ginger ale so I get in on that. The sugar sobers me up a bit and I think he's making mine weak until I have a second that makes the room threaten to spin. I am sitting on the couch with Jack who is rolling his eyes at Courtney, who is talking about "food babies" and they are hilarious.

17 December 2010

trying to understand antique varieties of racism so I can write about them.

15 December 2010

When we lived in Ontario my family would go out into the woods to cut down a Christmas tree. The branches were more sparse than on farmed trees. The trees my parents get now look forever too bushy.
two things make me shake: excitement (ideas count) and low blood sugar.

14 December 2010

"It's okay"

But I am still climbing the walls.
I had an morning dream about rolling down a hill very fast and being worried I was going to fall but it was allright.
I had to go to the museum to check up on my documents again (I needed evidence of archeological digs and it needed to be thrilling). I did the archivally unthinkable and photocopied my eighty year old documents, because if I had to spend another day typing things I was going to go absolutely bananas. It was already 2 pm. Real scholars use digital cameras. The curator walked by and said, "you're helping yourself, that's good."

12 December 2010

almost done my christmas shopping... just one more thing to pick up tomorrow. I remember that Christmas I broke cookies up into tiny pieces so my non-wheat-eating boyfriend could try a selection and I smile. He was a total bad boy and we weren't even dating anymore and he came to Christmas Eve with my German grandparents, to drink beer and roll the most perfect dumplings any of us had ever seen.
German spice cookies, wine, and chicken soup making on the stove. Except for the books which require frequent out-trips, I am a big-time homebody.
What does it tell you that I mostly read the home and garden section of a newspaper?
I wish my cat could have a play date with Chili. She's hilarious and so much fun, and my cat is an easygoing guy stuck indoors with nothing to hunt. It is too bad we live so far away.

11 December 2010

My mom has some of the same incomprehensible psychological knots as my sister. A tendency to become emotionally enmeshed in other people and situations, an inability to see their problems as affecting other people, a complete physiological shutting down if asked to talk about their treatment, a victim mentality, very public withdrawals. I can write them sympathetically but the limits of what I can give to them come up all of the time. In their absence, over breakfast with my mom, watching me go crazy, my dad has over the past couple years become noticeably more nurturing, more emotionally present. His affection feels real. He bakes banana bread. He tells me to be generous and not to judge anyone else from my place. I always worry about him getting home safe.
exhausted.

09 December 2010

my own problems plus a whole nother family's have combined to produce a panic attack, despite my best potion-producing technologies. gentleness and loving is a difficult message to get delivered.

08 December 2010

Got up early and went to school. Picked up library books and drank coffee in the sunshine between showers. There was no school today, so I went to the museum to re-read my primary sources with better-researched eyes. I was relaxed, happy, bored, even. It felt good, like I was a legitimate part of the world.

07 December 2010

I was about to have a Christmas meltdown when Google helped me locate a recipe for Sicilian X cookies. Now I have to decide whether these cookies, which have figs, nuts and chocolate in the filling, are best made with rum or with wine. If I start baking now I can make both.

06 December 2010

Happy St Nicholas day. I hope someone put chocolate in your shoes, or you had a Girl Least Likely to eat latkes with.

05 December 2010

am looking at my cat, who is enjoying his fur suit way too much.
By late afternoon the hoards of sticky children had made it home from the Santa Claus parade and the smell of alcohol and stale cigarettes had dissipated. Seriously kids, the habits you bring home. As I stood up and turned to exit the bus there was a man slack-faced and dirty, eyes fixed and agitated gripping the back of my seat. I had a pretty good idea what he was feeling but felt I had no right to disturb him. Doing so would probably have been unwise.

04 December 2010

I like my gray clothes.
I wonder where she got that shawl.

02 December 2010

make a date with me for chrismukah latkes at solly's.

01 December 2010

Got locked out of my e-mail today. I am afraid someone was in there deleting an important inquiry!

30 November 2010

My British psychiatric nurse thinks that I am unnecessarily unkind to myself. For instance, from the moment I get up I know that I will make a cup of coffee and drink it, all the while thinking how lazy I am that I am not already working. All day I will think how my work is not good enough, and then at night I lie in bed and have a panic because it never ends, and never is enough. Etcetera. I feel as if this state isn't entirely my own doing. I feel like I give people the impression that I am more capable than I am. I feel like this goes so far that I am unable to get useful feedback from these people. In this case my professors. And then I blame myself for not working hard enough. I will now remind myself that I worked to the point of psychic collapse and it still was not enough, and that literally half the people in each of my classes have reached the point of it seeming useless to show up.

29 November 2010

When I finally woke up around four it was dark and raining. I made French onion soup, steaming up the kitchen windows.
saved by the intervention of the snuggly cat.

28 November 2010

it has been several months of working until I was having panic attacks nightly and juggling medications and now that I am behind because of medication-induced sleepiness I am feeling it again and just want it to stop. so basically I am just having trouble working up the will to do the next two days.
coffee and clementines with me dad. "you must try one it's good," I say.

25 November 2010

Walked in the falling snow, baked madelines and drank hot cocoa. Like living in a children's book.
I wrote a reader response for class based on a blog post and a classmate liked it a lot. In my eyes it had become flabby in expansion. I read so many good writers I wonder why I don't take their writing apart and figure out how it works. I feel like I am missing a vocabulary I would very much like to acquire.
I get drunk on the options as other people blog about their love lives, or lack thereof.

20 November 2010

It has snowed. Outside the chill turns my knuckles blue and dry, even though it is wet slushy snow. I am tired and the new pills are a project (nausea, being driven to distraction) I don't have time for in the last two weeks of class. If ever. I have books everywhere and I don't have time to read them all. I don't even know if I want to read them all. I would if I could critically assimilate them. Sharpen sticks. Instead I am snowed in, fuzzed out, disconnected, overloaded.

19 November 2010

I have many, many pieces of paper filed according to subject... but I cannot find the one set (a historiography syllabus) I want.

18 November 2010

I have new pills to try. Am excited.

17 November 2010

today at the beginning of my first class a boy had a seizure. his whole body went rigid and shaky and he looked dead behind his eyes. He looked like an animal. I couldn't find my cellphone to call 911 and got dizzy. I feel like I should know what to do in health emergency situations (like when a crazy person runs on to the subway tracks) but I never do. a girl who wants to be a doctor ran to the back of the class and turned him on his side, speaking softly and reassuringly. someone at 911 wanted to hear how often he was breathing and she called it out. I walked outside because that's where even the boy's roommates had gone, to wait for the ambulance. it was pouring rain.

16 November 2010

When my mental state is rocky I eat peanut butter straight up. It doesn't even taste that good normally but when I am just edging out crazy...
I e-mailed my partner in peer-review an apology for being too involved in criticism, with not enough positive encouragement over the course website. I don't think he got it. After class on Monday I overheard him talking with the professor about changing his whole project in a totally unnecessary direction. It was awful. I feel like I damaged him.

14 November 2010

my little monkey.

13 November 2010

I'm reading modern Chinese fiction for the history paper I am writing and it is bringing back the part of me that once wanted to do comparative literature. The newness is a thrill.

12 November 2010

chickpeas in star anise and date masala
(adapted slightly from the ny times, after vij's of vancouver)

2 cans chickpeas (or 1½ cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and cooked)
1⁄3 cup olive oil
1 medium-large Spanish onion, peeled and chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 black cardamom pods
1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
3 whole star anise
4 teaspoons ground cumin

2½ tablespoons tomato paste
9 plump medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon himalayan pink salt

chopped cilantro to garnish

1. Drain the chickpeas and set aside.

2. With a knife, lightly crack the cardamom pods. Peel the shell to release the seeds and discard the shells. Grind the seeds together with the other spices in a clean coffee grinder, or with mortar and pestle.

3. In a large frying pan set over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it begins to shimmer. Add the onions and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until they have softened and started to brown. Stir in the garlic and sauté for a minute or so, until it, too, has softened. Reduce heat to medium and stir in the spice mixture. Add the tomato paste and all remaining ingredients and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes.

4. Add the chickpeas and ½ cup or more of water, enough to make the ingredients less than dry. Heat the mixture, stirring occasionally to incorporate the flavors, and keep warm until serving. Serve with rice and salad.
I would like to ask your opinion on the scarf I am wearing but blogger informs me I do not have the license to my photo. The scarf is rust coloured interrupted by a narrow orange stripe with black stripes and black checked stripes on either side. Orange is my favourite color and this scarf makes me think of modern art influenced by world art in a moment of optimistic possibility. The thing is, my face is very Heinz 57. I think I may not look ethnic enough to pull bold off. I look like photos of my grandparents' parents, who were Irish and Scottish mixed with Alsatian, which is to say, they look like the poor white faces of boys who fought in World War I; unfortunate heirs to imperialism. Long-nosed. What's a girl to do with a generically old-fashioned face?
news from china
- assertive chinese held in mental wards
- life in shadows for mentally ill in china

11 November 2010

I just don't want to tell you about it.

10 November 2010

the cat love bank: a worthwhile investment.
in China there are monkeys who make liquor in stone pools on wooded mountain sides.
The people who didn't do the reading skipped class today and we got to have an actual discussion. Hooray!

08 November 2010

One of my profs (the other one) only takes people seriously when they are stupid or haven't done the reading. And say as much, loudly. If you haven't done the reading, you moron, I don't want to be bored to death as you demonstrate that you still feel entitled to speak.
I got an e-mail from my girl Joanna who is getting a double mastectomy tomorrow. She says thank you for the kindness, the sooner I can get this over with the sooner I can be done with cancer. Her grace and strength almost make me cry. I'm so glad I said hi so I could see this little window on such a good person.

07 November 2010

fairy tea that is rose and jasmine mixed together.

06 November 2010

It was a night of hot sweat cold sweat shallow sleeping. My morning coffee was bitter and too hot. It did not erase the feeling of being tired and flushed. I bought rain boots on the advice of my father, and lounging around-sleeping in-yoga pants on the advice of my mother. In the afternoon I slept and woke up still tired.

05 November 2010

Finally let go my self-destructing time-hole of a paper. The cat is sleeping, the dog is sleeping and it is time for me to get out for a walk.

02 November 2010

got psychotherapeutized with regards to my long-lost, so near, relatives and counselled with respect to my self-defeating practices of intellectual experiment. all in all a productive hour.

01 November 2010

usually curiosity is enough to keep me from it, but now I am lonely.
I need to take my professor's advice and just have some fun with it.

31 October 2010

Been three years since I got sick.

29 October 2010

this morning I went to an extra seminar my Chinese history teacher is holding for the class. in it were two white guys with knowledge of classical Chinese, the Chinese literary tradition, and Chinese scholarship, and a guy who looks permanently stoned. he liked to talk, for example, about the surreal experience of reading an encyclopedia of Chinese history of science in a truck at the dump. on arriving I referred to the first two as the A-team and they looked horrified. I think we were all feeling overwhelmed. the professor said that what we are looking at is very difficult for experts to make head or tail of. the professor was carrying a stack of books almost as tall as herself, almost all of which were really cool and inspiring. the books were passed around and I wrote down the interesting parts of their tables of contents as possible sources for my paper. I found out that I am interested in the same sorts of things as the two smart people, and that isn't all bad. it was an early morning hour that served up the most fun parts of university in distilled form.
It is common for people who are very prone to anxiety to be bad at empathy.
I bought my cat new dishes. He's a bit of a size king. The old ones were too small, he wouldn't use the water dish and would inhale all of the kibble in one go. The new situation is improved. Aesthetically, the Chinese blue-on-white with botanical print and grey speckles is an improvement as well.
My sister treats me like a pariah. In the words of the pervy neuropsychologist, she can't handle what's happened to her, what she's done to herself, so she needs to blame me, and does so in myriad ways. Seeing someone in a psychological state this extreme is vertiginous. She's really hostile, she can't help herself from snapping at me and making me a villain no matter what I say. Recently she's started catching herself and apologizing when she does this. I don't appreciate that nearly enough. According to the pervy neuropsychologist I am supposed to cultivate a reaction of "oh you poor thing," no matter what she does. I may need training. Apparently I needed to really screw up in order to understand and be able to help.

27 October 2010

I did
a) identify the problem
b) talk
c) ask for help
d) continue sleeping properly. make that, oversleeping. but not in the morning.
that's psychotherapy in action

25 October 2010

today being unhealthy in healthy ways was enough to cheer me up. cases in point: drinking cocoa in the rain, doing research for the class I'm not behind in as fun procrastination.
autumn is a good time of year for fruit if you like persimmons and pomegranates.
I don't think I've ever thought of myself as just a crazy person. there have certainly been times when the crazy was pretty much all-encompassing - that is the nature of psychosis, it really captures one's attention. psychosis requires a lot of mental attention - in being occupied with disturbing thoughts, in focusing one's mental energies to try to come down from what feels like a panic attack but goes on way too long, in just being disrupted, forgetting things and having difficulty concentrating, in talking to nurses and doctors about one's mental state twice or three times daily - despite which, the tendency among patients is to deny that they are ill, or the extent to which they are ill. paranoia and delusions feel very important, they feel more than real. they can lead to very intense empathic leaps; connections seem hyperreal, language hypertextual. later maybe I don't remember everything, besides which, excising the crazy from one's baseline thinking becomes a way of getting better or avoiding death by embarrassment. talking about it can be normalizing for what is mostly a traumatic experience, but crazy isn't an identity. even then I would be trying to read.
The Paris Review has opened up its interview archives for public consumption and rumination on the writer's craft. here is an interview with michael houellebecq. when I was in the hospital for the first time attempting to sleep off my psychosis in the psychiatric assessment unit, my psychologist provided me with a copy of The Believer containing an interview with Michael Houellebecq. it's dark times and the schtick hasn't yet gotten old.

24 October 2010

it rains and rains as though the whole sky is crying for my inability to make arguments.

23 October 2010

I did all kinds of healthy things today - literally planted a tree and drank green tea until the beginnings of a cold coming on were banished. plus now my skin is glowy. I came up with two sets of arguments... and two sets of arguments for why they were no good.

19 October 2010

I wasn't brought up in a house where you argued. As I got older people's feelings needed to be respected and there became less of a determination that one must mind-read, but conversation was still not on the top of anyone's list. Now I have to form arguments and it bends my mind, how working to understand is not enough and even besides the point. Today I totally failed to form an argument and went on with my day, making soup and picking up a magazine to read about art.

18 October 2010

my father says that when I am studying I emit energy in the form of vibration.

17 October 2010

research topic: are there epistemic reasons a museum's civic presence would be construed as invisible?

16 October 2010

I can't tell if I'm frustrated, angry, or crazy.

14 October 2010

I must get some real work accomplished and right now that fact makes me sad.

13 October 2010

I was worried I wouldn't get my period because I was too skinny. Then I managed to splash blood on myself and the floor of a public restroom. It was a victory of sorts.
my cat likes potato chips. my favourite prof sends good job notes. these things make me smile.

12 October 2010

dear proquest digital dissertations,

lets make out on the couch. lovingly,

wrenna
I want to buy a whole bunch of books. The thing is, there is a backlist of things to acquire because I love them, but I am also looking forward to new and fabulous things. There is also an issue of space. As much as I love books living in a library can be oppressive. All of my books are above eye level, except for the ones piled on the desk, and the dresser, and the library books with their spines lined up on the floor. Really there is just a narrow passageway of floor space stretching from desk to door. And I don't even have that many books! Please leave book recommendations in the comments section.

11 October 2010

it's always scary when things get back to normal. that's when I fear for my bearings most.
my new plan for sleeping better involves olanzapine and melatonin. olanzapine prescribed by my doctor and melatonin on the recommendation of a pharmacist. the olanzapine was enough to stop what was probably psychosis creeping in - probably because I haven't felt panicked like I was since taking it - but left me feeling dazed and somewhat disoriented. it has a reputation for working quickly, making people sleepy, and raising blood sugar and cholesterol (along with the other standard warnings about antipsychotics), which is why the doctor gave it a go and the pharmacist was grossed out. melatonin is a hormone the body makes naturally, and can help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and sleep longer. sometimes people don't make enough melatonin. it's also a powerful antioxidant, which is nice, since antipsychotics are slightly carcinogenic. in any case, my worry and my sleep now have elixers of control.
limpid [ˈlɪmpɪd]

adj
1. clear or transparent
2. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) (esp of writings, style, etc.) free from obscurity
3. calm; peaceful

[from French limpide, from Latin limpidus clear]

limpidity , limpidness n
limpidly adv

09 October 2010

thought my yoga class yesterday was useless but now I have some nice sore muscles.
my other favourite tea is called tie kwan yin (goddess of mercy). it is a gentle green oolong, which means it is oxidized only slightly, the leaves rolled to release their oils. it is delicately floral, without the grassy, astringent or marine tones of green tea. you should come out for tea with me.

08 October 2010

what's good: kabusecha tea, the rush that comes from eating a substantial quantity of green stuff, a chance to work with my old boss on a school project, a note from a prof that says I write elegantly even if I don't have an original idea.

05 October 2010

last night an unusual panic attack, which I blame on my poison pills. I was proud of myself, I kept on working as soon as I could breathe again. life moves on, even with badly drafted papers.

04 October 2010

sleeping pills report

Prescribed by my doctor because I have been suffering from difficulty sleeping since I began taking a new antipsychotic one year ago. Initial response (t= 15 min) was positive: I felt as though I was floating on a fluffy white cloud, smiling. This is the sedative effect and is especially nice for about an hour. After I got to sleep, which took more than an hour, I wanted to sleep longer than the 7-8 hours recommended be set aside. Effectiveness diminished as life stress increased. The rebound, not being able to fall asleep normally after a night of taking the pills, is brutal. By the third time I'd used them I was up until 4:30 am anyhow. I slept through a meeting Friday morning and by the weekend I felt sick. Saturday was spent lying in one position, exhausted but drifting off to sleep only as if theoretically until suppertime. I've since hidden the pills in the back of my sock drawer and mentally refer to them as poison. Healthier ways of falling asleep include taking a calcium-magnesium pill, winding down all rational thought one hour before going to bed and focusing mental energies into a modified meditation on nothingness.

02 October 2010

when I have no thoughts it all seems so pathetic and sad. I've become dumbly average, there's no crispness, no insight, just whining. going to read for fine sentences now.

01 October 2010

I’ve come to think emotional generosity is as much a part of human brilliance as heat is of flame, whiteness of snow.
richard stern, lrb
cute overload: one kitten giving another kitten a back massage; three baby kittens sleeping in a pile, small, medium and pint size, who get up to launch themselves at the shoulders of anyone who comes close, their tiny needling claws sinking in. inside their steel cages they need so very much love it is overwhelming.

30 September 2010

I put my whole self into a comment for class and it was good. Now I need to put my whole self into five pages. The way forward is via Foucualt but I find him very boring.
Today in my neighbourhood I walked past a group of teenage boys talking about how they're afraid they're going to be beaten to death in broad daylight. It happened to a girl not far from here. There are more police around but even I think twice about going anywhere. I still do, I just carry my keys out so that I can gouge them into the face of anyone who tries to jump me.

28 September 2010

Read some Canguilhem - friend of the French Resistance and thesis advisor to Michel Foucault. Threw away the introduction and understood some Canguilhem. Cheered at the constant reference to Alexandre Koyré, another historian of science who wrote a great book called, From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe. Wish I had been in this position this morning as I toiled fruitlessly and then ran off to a yoga class that was afterall cancelled.
At least I can have a do-over of my morning coffee. I drink decaf now, but still.

27 September 2010

I'm so stressed out I'm twitching and can't think straight. My class is competitive. It makes me work hard but doesn't help me work better at all. I feel like Paris on 'Gilmore Girls' - not good.
it was an early morning and humid, just waiting for the sky to open up.

25 September 2010

torrential rain.
Sunshiney and to the farmer's market I went. I wanted kale and lettuce mix and was not disappointed to find still more yellow zucchini. If people avoid taking their children to the grocery store they make a date to take the kids to hear the African xylophone and whacked out folk guitar, then feed them vegan cupcakes. They are apple-cheeked and pregnant and earnestly pay double while dressed in second hand clothes.

23 September 2010

Today a kitten gnawed on my collarbone. I have had to start eating more in order to fuel the brain power; I lost weight just studying.

22 September 2010

My cat jumped up on the counter and licked tiny broccoli bits and ground turkey crumbles from my plate. I was too enamored to scold.
I have been reading until my head is fuzzy for the past two weeks and today I got a good job from both my profs. I am still not as good at arguing as some of the slovenly creatures at school about but it's a start, and Sunday, I really am in love with that prof I told you about. She is a good teacher and tosses out books I want to read on a twice-weekly basis.

21 September 2010

in my yoga class there is an Indian man who breathes like a dragon.

20 September 2010

taken over by panic my heart goes furry in my throat. I will take a pill, the one that I forgot, then not feeling better the one that is almost due, then not feeling better, the one that may put me to sleep, and it doesn't; I can breathe again.

19 September 2010

walking in the forest. this is good, this is healthy. a flooding had occurred due to all the rain that had fallen and I got my feet wet.

18 September 2010

I have been driven a bit crazy by the human depravity captured on the evening news.

17 September 2010

I think my parents treat my illness as not-me, not even human, and hers as ego-tonic. She gets respected even when what she's doing or saying is very sick. They'd sell me out without understanding and be unable to believe how bad the care I was getting actually was.
My nurse thinks my sister needs a mental health nurse. I agree. She is seeing a psychiatrist privately, I think, whereas I am in the public system. My sister prefers to keep her illness from me and I see her rarely. She may deny how bad it is as a way of holding herself together, but she may lack insight into how profoundly the demands she makes as a consequence effect her life and relationships. My sister would like me to not say anything to her doctor. I do not believe in intruding when she has said no. Each time she takes medication for her condition her moods get more unstable. She is suffering a great deal and must feel very unsafe around other people as a result of her roller coaster of emotions.

16 September 2010

My cat has decided that he will say goodnight by curling up next to my heart and purring. I know he's thinking, this would be better if she were little and furry, but his new ritual makes me feel so gentle.
I want to stop reading things written by the generation of academics who regurgitate the basics of Foucault as if they were getting at something really difficult and then get excited about saying, "so what?" It's lazy, overheated, unhelpful and declassé. Plus now my brain feels like a soggy vegetable.

15 September 2010

After a day of drowning in information what I want is a drink.

14 September 2010

For both my classes I have to write something every week. I hope I get better (at writing) fast because right now I have nervous fits after handing something in. I was still sweating over last night's thing in my pyjamas this morning when a police officer showed up at my door wanting to know if anyone at my address had been involved in a fatal car accident at one in the morning ten days ago.

13 September 2010

The first is "tiger roving"; the second is "cicada clinging" - focus on the outside; the third is "measuring worm"; the fourth is "river deer butting"; the fifth is "locust splayed" - breath on the inside; the sixth is "gibbon grabbing" - focus on the outside; the seventh is "toad"; the eighth is "rabbit bolting"; the ninth is "dragonfly" - focus on the outside; the tenth is "fish gobbling." These are the ten positions.
Positions for having sex in, from the Tianxia zhidao tan, part of the Mawangdui manuscripts, the earliest known healing texts in China (prior to 186 BCE). Footnotes indicate that scholars don't know what the positions were, nor are they clear on what "focus on the outside" means.

12 September 2010

I never feel at ease unless I have been working and working well.

11 September 2010

chemical factory produces a masterpiece. all I want to do is drink wine and look at it.

10 September 2010

in three days my pen has travelled from Kuala Lumpur through Hong Kong and Ohio and into my happy hands. I love it when parcels arrive extra fast.

08 September 2010

sat in the library doing my 5000 pages of history reading on pdf and emerged three hours later feeling uncertain and unfocused in a brain fuzzy sort of way. perhaps my stamina is bad and perhaps the books in there are taking up all the oxygen as they slowly decompose. some of the reading was magical and otherworldly and some of it will be about archives, which are fun. I feel so stupid sitting in classes where the professors talk so fast and everyone blurts out the simple answers on cue while I am still in attentional shifting mode, figuring out that it was a simple question. Woe.

06 September 2010

it is the last day of summer and it has been raining all day, reminding me of what november has in store. I'm just hanging out drinking tea and waiting for my new fountain pen to come in the mail. It was a pretty sketch Malaysian website that had it so I am just crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.

04 September 2010

things I haven't given up on
- green tea
- Joanna Newsom
- jeans that fit perfectly
- farmer's mix salad greens, including kale, from the farmer's market

music sounds better when I can forget my antidepressant and be unwound for the night. things taste better as well.
things I have lost creative confidence in
- German sock making
- building a terrarium in a beautiful glass jar
- Moroccan cooking
- quilt making

I cannot explain quite why.

03 September 2010

My face is showing my age.

31 August 2010

when the cat and I have a disagreement we go on a love offensive, making extra efforts to acknowledge one another. yesterday I caught him sneaking out of the backyard and then at night while I couldn't sleep he came and slept on the bed beside me, which he never does. cat love cannot be overrated.

30 August 2010

late at night I hunch in child's pose trying to let a sense of impending something dissipate. my brain does somersaults and never will be too soon to be publicly reminded of the things I thought when I was psychotic so I've been quietly taking my morning pill then to knock myself out. I want to go back to school and back to working in a museum but I have so much failure on my side none of it feels good. quick, I need to do some vacation-y things. instead, yesterday I turned off the computer and read an introduction to Foucault's ethics, which I have never done for classes, and it felt perfectly safe and sane.

28 August 2010

one of my dad's golf buddies has a daughter with breast cancer. do I know her? I asked. Joanna, he said. She's not 25 I said, I went to high school with her. Radiation, double mastectomy, I lost my appetite. Fuck. I will send her a present but she was not my friend and I didn't know. She travelled and I saw her on the bus sometimes, she would tell me I looked great. She was beautiful, vivacious, dark hair, student council queen, the career counsellor's favourite.

27 August 2010

other things I silently close my ears to in yoga class: "massaging cervical vertebrae" and using my "nose like a paintbrush to make tiny centimeter wide circles." gross.
today: read curious george and the three-year-old had a meltdown. it became obvious that I am nowhere near as responsive as his good mother, though my biological clock be extremely noisy. I worry I am doomed to make depressed autistic retard babies who would rather shit their pants than ask me to take them to the bathroom.

26 August 2010

my slow-motion disaster unfolded and it looks like it is going to be okay. I am learning to play by the rules, I am learning how not to fail.

25 August 2010

relaxation exercises seem to trigger a ptsd-like mixture of agitation and fury in me, recalling all of the extraordinarily stressful events in my life when people told me to do some fucking relaxation exercises. it was a good thing we eventually got to the yoga tonight.

23 August 2010

I had a dream about walking through a park full of children to find a ferry boat because a bridge was looking very menacing as though it would kill me. When I woke up I looked for Boris. The world can never have enough sensitive and perceptive boys, they make life feel like living. I spent the day scouting escape hatches.

22 August 2010

i like octopus on my desktop. via ffffound and dethjunkie

21 August 2010

paper is handed in. what a disappointment. i am crying.

20 August 2010

butchering up some lovely academic prose. all that's left now is rearranging the final section (with half my brain). I'm not sure I'm actually offering arguments but there are points marching one after another down the page.
a subtle punning has slipped into my consciousness, presenting itself as the solutions to my more intractable problems - four/fore, a roast chicken sandwich, rescuing the cat from a dead mouse. This was the part of losing my mind that felt like I was seeing the truth. I hope it's just clouds passing through. This medicine has a naturalistic feel.

18 August 2010

The “Ode To Man” from Sophocles’ Antigone
by Anne Carson


Many terribly quiet customers exist but none more
terribly quiet than Man:
his footsteps pass so perilously soft across the sea
in marble winter,
up the stiff blue waves and every Tuesday
down he grinds the unastonishable earth
with horse and shatter.

Shatters too the cheeks of birds and traps them in his forest headlights,
salty silvers roll into his net, he weaves it just for that,
this terribly quiet customer.
He dooms
animals and mountains technically,
by yoke he makes the bull bend, the horse to its knees.

And utterance and thought as clear as complicated air and
moods that make a city moral, these he taught himself.
The snowy cold he knows to flee
and every human exigency crackles as he plugs it in:
every outlet works but
one.
Death stays dark.

Death he cannot doom.
Fabrications notwithstanding.
Evil,
good,
laws,
gods,
honest oath taking notwithstanding.

Hilarious in his high city
you see him cantering just as he please,
the lava up to here.

The New Yorker 16/08/10
whenever I see a little tiny house I think of myself living there someday. I have been walking a lot in order to keep my mental anguish in check. I never needed help with my homework in my whole life but last night my mother, who is a teacher, sat beside me and asked me to explain about what I had written so that I could write more. I've never been so calm when writing, I had been on the verge of tears. This morning my cat slept at my side, which he does rarely, pulling his paws over his face and turning his neck up to the ceiling, purring. So it goes, so I still need to do more.

12 August 2010

what I did (yesterday): arranged some wildflowers.
things I want to do: sleep

things I do not want to do: finish my paper which is half done

10 August 2010

I have been summoned for jury duty. Am I disqualified on account of being mentally infirm?

06 August 2010

I went to the show, and it seems that not only do I want Joanna Newsom to be my new friend, lots of boys really like her too. Joanna Newsom's beautiful harp broke a string early on, making for less low end harp which was disappointing, but her voice was clear and there was percussion, two violins, a trombone and a multi-instrumentalist arranger person. She had girlie roadies. I bet you didn't know that trombones were used primarily as instruments in church before Mozart made them symphonic in part of a church scene in The Magic Flute.

05 August 2010

I want to write something but really I just want you to love me.

04 August 2010

other circus tricks I mastered as a child

-walking on stilts
-making balloon animals (with googley eyes)
-arial somersaults on trampoline

03 August 2010

I like going to yoga where I pretend for an hour that I am a cat. I like having my focus narrowed down to just moving, or holding still.

It reminds me of my favourite part of synchronized swimming, which, incidentally, had nothing at all to do with smiling, synchronization, or teammates. It was the part where you put on a black bathing suit and recited figures, linked body movements requiring concentration and slowness. It was so boring to watch it's been cancelled from high level competitions now. Luckily the world is not yet bored of yoga.

31 July 2010

I went to yoga and I liked it. Such a relief.

I had taken to weaning myself off benzodiazepines to clear and focus my mind. It was torture. My medicine causes akathesia at night; if I want to sleep I probably do need chemical help.
when I was a child of about ten I helped my little sister, who longed for a cat, by writing little notes for our parents petitioning her cause. I myself did not have any strong feelings about cats, I wanted a pet pig (which was trending at the time) but recognized my ideal in animal companionship to be a bit odd, and it was like, we were already getting made fun of around the neighbourhood for our rusted out car. so I wrote our little petitioning notes and my parents must have known our hearts were true because when I was upset and didn't feel heard I would also leave them little notes about my feelings.
the housemates have returned with love and stinky brie!

29 July 2010

being around real live people is supposed to be good for you but it makes me psychotic and I hate feeling like that.

the three year old child is exempted as a fount of wisdom on interpersonal dynamics.
my three year old cousin pees on the carpet.
my dad picks up languages well when he travels. He has been writing me in charming idiomatic phrasing spelled phonetically. Yesterday I was his son.

28 July 2010

after weeks of looking at buds I gave up on the bees (where are you, bees?) and fertilized my roma tomato plant by q-tip. pretty much instantly the plant was dripping with little green fruits. if only I knew why the cherokee purple tomatoes that were so leafy and lush last summer are now my little stragglers...

27 July 2010

I find going for a walk with a dog a shitty way to start the day. I want time to wake up before life starts making demands. I'm glad this chapter in my life will be ending soon.

25 July 2010

detailing my mistakes has made me feel less fearful. I have done bad things out of fear. I have shut down and been no use to anyone. I was right to feel guilty and wrong not to know why.

24 July 2010

Good-Night Lludi
Kevin McCann

In the mid-1950s, six months after escaping from an insane asylum "thanks to the negligence of two or three guards," a young Louis Wolfson decided to devote himself wholeheartedly to the study of languages. He was in his mid twenties and living in Brooklyn with his one-eyed mother, who had called the police to have him committed. This period of his life, dominated by his fixation on language, became the subject of his first book, Le Schizo et les langues - which was written in French and printed in part in 1964 in Jean-Paul Sarte's journal Les Temps modernes. Referring to himself in the third person throughout, Wolfson uses ironic phrases such as "the schizo," "the mentally-ill young man," and "the schizophrenic language student" to describe his condition prior to his linguistic obsessions:

for one afternoon I had a Persian boyfriend. we had drinks and then went to a secret restaurant. "we could stay up all night," he said. we were having a really fun time. he was tall, broad shouldered, and completely serious. I had not sorted out any kind of relationship between sex and my feelings. I was seeing someone else, although our relationship felt loose and complicated. it was a courtship, it was painful and worry-filled. I talked to him as a friend. I called my boyfriend and went home. the next time I saw him, months later, he invited me to a wedding. all boundaries in one place, few hard lines in the other. looking back it might have been a missed opportunity, but he had lied to me and my trust was at best faltering. I needed to say no then, and he was leaving at the end of the summer.

23 July 2010

this writing has shoved my boundaries way over and left me unable to slow my heart down. it feels horrible, it felt like I was going insane. 1 mg clonazapam and I am returning slowly to earth.

22 July 2010

I feel I have acquired a healthy interest in communication, though it is not yet precise in execution.
all in all I loved him helplessly. he found me too innocent, and too stupid. frankly he was too busy.
I had sex for the first time by accident. I was in someone else's apartment and couldn't figure out the thermostat so suggested moving under a blanket. we had been laughing at star trek and kissing all night. he took his clothes off and I felt obliged. on account of this obligement I later convinced him to let me meet him in new york, so having to go to the pharmacy for plan b was just a humiliating coincidence. I was stiff and worried and didn't have as much fun as I did smiling at data getting kissed. the next day my boyfriend called to see that I was okay and I accidentally hung up on him, obliging him to call back and me to say I was fine. it took me approximately 36 hours to work up the courage to go to the pharmacy. my boyfriend said that he was the devil (I blame his father, the minister) and I was afraid of our potential demon child.
my boyfriend had the nicest skin I have ever encountered in my life. he was smooth and soft, lean, nut brown. the hairs on his arms made me crazy. he liked to take my shirt off and wrap himself around me. that's where I was happiest, all the time, to be wrapped up with him. he had a tactile vocabulary that left me feeling mute. I ran my fingers over his broken collarbone, the only place he was imperfect, trying, trying to find a way in.
I thought of all the things I was going to say and then I fell asleep. I thought of how I had tactile hallucinations with my last boyfriend and at the time thought I was just really into him touching me. meanwhile I would get so anxious I could not think or form sentences and would just stand there smelling like sweat. there are no relationships in my prospects but I think about boys and am terrified of the biochemical chaos that one might unleash. I move warily.

21 July 2010

I have a new ritual of drinking something very cold (water or iced green tea) as I settle in for the night. it feels like a cleansing ritual.

19 July 2010

my housemates are in a tiny medieval town in France drinking four euro bottles of wine. between three foot wide walls. also, apparently eight hundred year old universities do not sell objects with their name on it, so short of shimmying up a drainpipe and chiseling off bits from the front of the building...

18 July 2010

I am healthy and fine but all I want to do is get drunk and fall soundly asleep.
the three-year-old throws down, "poo," frequently in conversation and irritably corrects his grandparents, "I'm a girl."

17 July 2010

I was so worried about choosing a birthday book for my three-year-old cousin... but he liked it so much he read it four times before bed tonight. the book is "bugs in a blanket," by Beatrice Alemagna. the pictures are all done in felt. little fat bug has never seen another bug before, so he invites the other bugs living on the blanket on the chair at the bottom of the back yard to his birthday party in the hole in the middle of the blanket. when they show up he is surprised! there is sweetness, repetition, a theme of accepting other people as they are, and a dance party. when I was a kid I hated stories about bad things happening so that was how I chose.

15 July 2010

I still feel bad, voiceless.
in the end it's summertime. the jasmine is flowering and if I rub the leaves of my cardamon plant they smell amazing. i have a friend who with genius level powers of conceptual organization and great kindness will help edit my paper. my cat chooses me. I can think of four drinks involving bourbon to choose from while I cook. life is not too bad.

13 July 2010

is it fair that I feel shitty to have found out that the neuropsychologist I was referred to was convicted of sexual assault? when my paranoia and delusions were sexual in nature? seven charges by two individuals. he was creepy and asked questions he probably didn't need to and I gave him leeway. he did his time ten years ago.

I feel like I need a new doctor who won't refer me to creeps.
I think the reason I write continually about the cat is that there remains an aura of wonder around the fact of our relationship, as though I do not believe that I am an animal person, though I am, more to the point, this animal's person. in between twisting my brow over philosophy and writing a bit all day I have been sitting in an empty house (housemates are on vacation) drinking antioxidant green tea with a cat and dog who are friends, coaxing love back under the cat's fur, and I find that I am happy. we are all in a little room and the two animals are sleeping.
my cat. fell out the window into the dark dark night. i lept up in my nightie and proweled the street barefoot with a flashlight, calling. there were noises of cats getting into squabbles. the cat did not appear.

he appeared in the morning, wedged between fence and retaining wall, returning the vocalizations of the dog and I. he has not been the same since. he does not want to go out. he does not purr. he wanders away from where the people are. his pride has been sorely injured. i make offerings of treats, which he accepts, and cuddles, such as he will stand for, but he is a dispirited cat and it is very sad.

11 July 2010

my prolactin level is still high a year after I got fucked over by a doctor who went too hard on the pills, and his staff who told me to shut up. this could give me cancer. I want to kill him.
I got asked out in my doctor's office. By a mental patient.

"That must have made you feel good," said my mother.

"No. No it did not."

10 July 2010

I ran into the girl who sat behind me in grade eight math while getting iced coffee. she is now a documentary filmmaker. I saw her film about a girl with cf and her internet friends, during the film festival and on tv. she has been flying back and forth to India for eight months making a film about children who are taken to faith healers and get sicker because the Indian government has not yet agreed to pay to cure them. she is very happy, except when her heart is breaking, and I am happy for her. tonight I cannot concentrate because I am psychotic, because I get this way when I see my peers succeeding and I can't.
my sister points out that the cat is very happy and comfortable, as he spent several hours lolling on his back. I point out that such is an efficient cooling posture for the cat, and that he seems to enjoy having lots of people around.

08 July 2010

two nights ago I talked to a three year old, the modern-day medical miracle boy, for hours. he has a very short attention span. unless you are reading to him curious george, in which case he will listen for hours while the grown ups talk. we got to talking about the pictures, and how sad george looked there, and then he told me stories to cheer me up. and he hit me and then kissed it better. and he snuggled up. i like boys who snuggle up and read books.
I talk to my teeth all the time. like, "hellooo little tooth. i am very happy that you are moving. make it snappy! go little tooth!"

06 July 2010

my braces make me feel like a cyborg. a very gawky cyborg.

04 July 2010

only 3.2% of a cat's brain is frontal lobes, as opposed to 29% in humans. if a cat is upset you can be sure that you will know directly and not have to wait through a lot of plotting and psycho-social torment otherwise engaging organization or oversight.
Proust is so charming because he brings to your attention other people's annoying and asocial qualities and renders them charming and sweetly funny. I wish I had M. Proust with me to render charming the moments when I want to scream, "executive dysfunction" amidst my family.
mommy talk from the playground:

"she wants a little sister or brother but labour with her was really difficult, I thought I was going to die."

"I like having one but we had all those complications and he was only two pounds."

the baby was in fact starving inside her and had stopped growing at six months. She only found out during a routine ultrasound near the end of her pregnancy and had to be taken directly into surgery and gutted like a fish.
carried my three year old cousin around the farmer's market this morning. a little boy named Oscar fell down in front of him and my cousin started talking to him, telling him it was okay and asking what was hurt. he's a well brought-up kid. then we went to the playground and he slipped running over sand on rubber mats and bashed his head.

03 July 2010

I am house sitting a basically feral cat. she needs to be let out in the morning and in at night. if i sit in her room too long she hisses and tells me to get out.

02 July 2010

it's my lucky day - I found a four leaved clover. its edges had been made lacy by an insect. so I looked some more and found one that was pristine, and now both are being pressed in my dictionary.

29 June 2010

still overwhelmed by my own writing, I volunteered to write a newsletter. Got advice on drafts from two professional writers and spent hours working over a few short paragraphs but it was fun. It gave me a chance to be unselfconscious and outcome oriented.

27 June 2010

my associative style of thought is a liability to frustrating sloppiness... and endless curiosity.
it may not look anything like summer outside but little green tomatoes have appeared in the garden and they are worth cheering for. I go out with the cat and he gets impressed with the hose while looking for his friend the snake.

24 June 2010

a neighbour living up the street from me has a sizeable patch of opium poppies. they are tall and grow densely shoulder to shoulder; they are nodding off to seed.

23 June 2010

I talked to my schizophrenic aunt on the phone last night. She's not really my aunt, she's my dad's cousin. Her way of thinking feels instantly familiar, even though when it happens to me it feels distant and emotionally arresting at the same time. There are cognitive signs I recognize and accept, I know what they point to without knowing all the answers. I feel so protective of her. I wish she wouldn't undermine herself and recognize myself there.

22 June 2010

presumably this is why it's preferable to have braces when one's jaw bone is younger and softer: it hurts so bad, with painkillers, that my eyes water and my hands shake. I want to pull my spacers out!

18 June 2010

the freckle
under my left arm
salutes you.
white wine and panforte makes for a nice garden party even if it is just me and the cat. I can imagine tea lights in the dark, making my white flowers dance.

17 June 2010

It's The Girl Least Likely's Birthday Eve! Party party my lovely!

16 June 2010

well, well... things didn't quite go as planned but perhaps it was all a neurasthenic reaction to reading too much. I am now soaked in blood, there is blood all over.

14 June 2010

crazy passes through like a whiff of something malodorous. there isn't a narrative, just a passing shift in perception that feels like going cross-eyed followed later by heart pounding anxiety. I talk about nothing in particular and it passes. something about dopamine and conversation.

last night I slept fine so don't you worry.

13 June 2010

Woke up at 3:15 this morning. Read Proust. If this continues I will have read Proust. Early morning exhaustion is probably the perfect mode for reading Proust, who wrote beautiful things all night long. Fell back asleep at 7am.

12 June 2010

got tix to Joanna Newsom! SOOO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!
pons asinorum - bridge for the inept; "donkey bridge"
When I woke up at 5:20 this morning the light was the colour of white tea. The cat got up and snuggled under my left arm, purring. Such delirious good.

11 June 2010

I've been sitting around looking like a stunned bunny and now that I think of it, I feel anxious and slowed down and have been crawling into bed at midday just to lie there for a few minutes. Chalk it up to my usual spring slump. I guess I just keep going.
in honour of Hugh Laurie's fifty-first birthday I had a dinner of red wine, braised artichoke and licorice all sorts (only the blue crunchy and black bits). The artichoke didn't make the kitchen smell like a church as steaming does but had luxurious texture.

10 June 2010

I miss doing math. Math was my second-favourite subject in high school.
[Citing Unsworth et al. 2004] individuals who recalled more items on the working memory task, in this case operation span, were less likely to have their attention captured by the anti-saccade task. This finding makes no sense from a view that working memory capacity is limited by either the number of items or by processing speed, but it makes perfect sense if that limitation reflects differences in the ability to control the contents of working memory.

One problem with this view is that executive attention is the most difficult aspect of attention to model in any substantial way because it seems homuncular in nature. However, cognitive control can be conceptualized in computational terms (O'Reilly et al. 1999) and it is becoming clear that this ability is mediated by brain circuits associated with the prefrontal cortex and the anterior cingulate, that dopamine is the principle neurotransmitter associated with cognitive control and that these abilities have strong genetic underpinnings, particularly the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene, which is critical to the regulation of dopamine in the brain. We seem well on the way to mechanizing the homunculus.

Randall W. Engle, "What is the role of attention in working memory?" Science of Memory: Concepts. Oxford, 2007.

antipsychotic medications dampen dopamine activity in the brain (sometimes leading to effects in other parts of the body. Dopamine is for example part of coordinating large muscle movement). The one thing left would be to figure out which receptor types (D1-D5) are involved.

09 June 2010

08 June 2010

Working memory is a limited capacity system for maintaining and manipulating information and it underpins the capacity for complex and flexible cognition.
Alan Baddelry, "Working memory: Multiple models, multiple mechanisms," Science of Memory: Concepts. Oxford, 2007.

07 June 2010

attended a managerial meeting. learned about communication and keeping quiet.

06 June 2010

I thought the pain might help clear my mind. It hasn't.
Sometimes I wonder if one of the "environmental factors" leading to my psychosis was all of the time I spent colouring my hair red as a teenager.
I don't trust my feelings! It didn't really take a psychologist to help me figure that one out, he just reiterated for my benefit. I think about my upbringing, growing up in a sea of bipolar sway, and of times where my feelings weren't recognized or validated until long (years) afterwards. I wouldn't think those things could be solely responsible. We talked a little bit about broken trust and how I'm not really one to... I've put up walls of my own.

04 June 2010

chipmunk cheeks.
I met with the neuropsychologist today and apparently my little bit of magic is verbal comprehension - what I can do with language independent of my level of education. I scored off the charts, so that something like one person in a thousand would be better than me. What I have that is kind of weird (1 in 100) is a big difference between what my ability there suggests and how relatively slow my working memory and speed of processing are. So I don't have the cognitive capacity to show off, I would really have to work at it. Receiving in broadband, outputting on analogue punch cards. Making sure I keep whatnot safe, apparently.

Birdie asked a while ago about seeing the forest for the trees - what the doctor I spoke to referred to as taking a more holistic view. He suggested looking at optical illusions and noticing how my perception shifts, or doesn't, playing some sort of word game that involves finding smaller words in bigger words in ways that defy usual groupings, and looking for counterexamples, i.e. see what is ugly about a pretty thing and vice versa with other things good and bad. Listen to music for its technical qualities, and then do it again looking for what speaks to you. But these are probably most useful for adapting to psychosis.

02 June 2010

have been adrift all day in a post-anesthetic haze. it has been stress preventative, almost entirely.

01 June 2010

I got tomato cages! There is a second garden box now giving me space for more tomatoes, small eggplants, summer squash, peas and cucumbers. The heliobore looks elegant resting under the clematis with a salvia, the succulents are potted and my general impression is joy as the rain comes down and gives my lovelies a drink.

30 May 2010

More words is better.
roman chicken

12 sage leaves
2 chicken breasts, halved
4 slices of prosciutto (~50g)

1 teaspoon flour
1 cup chicken stock (from 1/2 a bouillon cube is okay)
8 sage leaves, slivered or not

my recommendation is, buy a sage plant (while you're at it, rosemary, thyme and parsley) to keep in your kitchen window. lay 3 sage leaves across a piece of chicken, wrap it in a slice of prosciutto and lay it in a pan dressed with a tablespoon of olive oil. repeat x3. over medium heat sear the chicken (~5 minutes each side), then turn the heat down to low and allow it to cook through. remove the chicken to a plate.

add to the pan 1 teaspoon of flour and stir to coat it in oil, adding a little more if necessary (this keeps clumps from forming). turn the heat back up. add the sage leaves and stir as they become fragrant. add the chicken broth and stir to pick up the drippings and thicken a little, 2-3 minutes.

serve with steamed chard and roast potatoes for the easiest elegant supper I know.
I do not feel sad or unhappy. I can stick up for that. A good cup of tea can fix a lot.
My nurse says that she thinks I am mean to myself. I think what she means that I let things be unnecessarily difficult, although it could also be a person-centered version of what I have heard from a CBT perspective, that there is a me that I extinguish on its way to expression. Last night when I was mulling this over my nose began to twitch rabbit-style and I thought, I do not want to say this aloud: I am a sensualist who puts up with the indignity of a twitching face, a deadened and nonresponsive body. Instead I said, I live a life that keeps me physically separate from other people because I cannot trust my reactions to them or what I will say (never mind that I like being alone and people provoke a base level of anxiety). Being mean makes some things tolerable. When I'm with the nurse I am thinking, no, no,no, stop, I don't like this, and then I remind myself I like people who are psychologically-minded and it would be better to be one of them, so I should take ownership of this and try.

The neuropsychologist said, you can be crazy and also be right (i.e. about someone being verbally aggressive or creepy). If the anxiety part of this is what I am prepared to deal with for now, that sounds like a preliminary approach.

28 May 2010

I am considering building a castle out of my ziprasidone boxes. Too bad I have already thrown some away.
I've decided that I'm re-teaching myself how to write. Rather than pressure through it and have this trouble again next time I'm trying to rebuild my skills. This is a reason it is okay to take longer. Today I repeated what's been said about Megan, I show up and I work. This makes it more okay.
Seems like I feel worse, psychologically, when I start feeling better.
My brain sort of crashed yesterday but I got a small amount of outlining accomplished and will try to add more analysis and another section today. I am so slow. I try to focus on the concrete progress rather than panic and berate myself.

I've been taking more medication. Being around people who weren't immediate family was becoming stressful because I was so distrustful but my primary reasoning was what it always is, that my brain seemed to work better after the second dose. It gave me a little more distance, so I wasn't so absorbed in details. I'm more deliberate. The nervous energy that makes me move faster has been flattened out, my body feels heavy and muscles are stiff. Stretching used to be so pleasurable; now it is frustrating. The trade seems roughly proportional.

I've been drinking green tea for the antioxidants, to counteract the carcinogenic, hormone-unbalancing medicine. My nurse points out indirectly how sick the whole world seems, how toxic, exhaust fumes everywhere. This is paranoia with its attention turned to something real.

26 May 2010

I've reached a point in frustration where all I do is want until I don't know what I want anymore.
Subject verb object.
The cat has taken to brattily peeing on the rug by the door when the dog goes out. In the rain, nonetheless. The vet says we can spritz him with calming pheromones but they are expensive and I am now broke. I'm attempting a cuddle offensive. Produce your own calming pheromones sweet one! We'll see.

23 May 2010

The cat now has hypoallergenic soy-based food. I know, right? But he likes it a lot.
The grocery store has a summer barbeque feature going on involving an ice cream parlor worth of flavours. There was root beer float, cotton candy, banana split, chocolate crackle, tiger tail, bubblegum, maple, rainbow, etc. It was a junk food bonanza and I partook.
Poor cat is traumatized. In an effort to help the healing I have returned to him his plastic water dish (thought ceramic would taste better, alas). Now he has two. He licks at his forearms, feeling violated. My heart is all cracked open. The cat wanders away.

22 May 2010

worked. made chicken soup with chickpeas for dinner. miss my cat who is still at the vet, waiting to pee. had a freakish sympathy/stress reaction involving lactation after showering. it's all freakiness over here.
So many adorable kittens at the vet. My boy cat and I were there to get him some medical attention. He had a rough morning of blood work and urine draws and had to stay for a bit. Waiting in the exam room he crawled into my lap for a snuggle. My cat is not a lap cat. I got stress sleepy and closed my eyes waiting for him to be brought back to me. No feline leukemia or feline AIDS, though, thankfully. I referred the staff to the spot in the chart that tells them to go easy on the kitty morphine, it makes him throw up, and felt relieved at my catch.

21 May 2010

When I was a child I refused to go to confession. The priest said ok, standing outside the church. I still think of this as a progressive response. Today over tea my Oma and my mom both said he seemed creepy.

In any case, it was the beginning of the end of organized religion for me.
"Purity is overrated."

-My father

20 May 2010

I went out without a coat and got in minutes before the sky opened up.

19 May 2010

If I don't sleep when I get tired from my medicine during the day I get blackouts where I can't remember what I've done. They produce a high level of anxiety, more than the loss of control. I've been taking more medicine for a couple weeks and feeling well about it (more focused thinking! better parsing for the important points without getting lost in the details!) but this psychotic type stuff has me rattled.

18 May 2010

I have always hated the feeling of falling asleep. Lately though I panic as I start to drop off, turn myself over then unable to get a good breath. I'm not sure what I'm panicked about, anyway it goes on for hours and panic is supposed to be quick. Lately I don't wait so long to tranquillize myself or worry so much about how my brain will work the next day if I do.

17 May 2010

my mental tendency to concretization embarrasses me, makes me think that I am boring and stupid. such an adolescent complaint but so close to the truth.
I woke up early this morning and lay in bed watching the walls turn pale gray as the sun came up. I got up, made coffee, said goodbye to the weekend guest and went back to sleep for a few hours before I had to go out.

The bus was almost empty. At the shelter I sat on the floor and let baby kittens crawl all over me. One was so small she could curl her legs up in the palm of my hand and lay her head across my wrist. I soaked up my oxytocin hit, scooping up the tiny cats ever so gently when they wandered away.

14 May 2010

The Girl Least Likely To accompanied me to an evening engagement I did not wish to attend alone. Hanging out with her was like meeting a real-life dream of a girl. She is that kind, her brain produces intelligent and creative wonders at intervals of thoughtful pause, and she is beautiful. A non-intrusive thank you from my whole heart, Sunday.

12 May 2010

My mother is beautiful and solipsistic and my father's role in their relationship is appeasing her: she can be pleased for all of five minutes. I feel like this dynamic makes understanding relationships difficult for me. I want one that is about mutual growth and finding out about the world. If you can do that for me I will become attached.

11 May 2010

my cat caught a very large garter snake by the tail. i freed it by grabbing him by the scruff and pulling the cat by his left paw out of the quince. all afternoon the cat has be super mellow, his urge satisfied.

10 May 2010

09 May 2010

depression is, i read, common when psychosis goes away. psychosis is not the friend you want but it is reliably there and it had been possible for me to make my life about ministering to it and keeping it cared for. but. instead now my life can be about chasing ideas and writing them down, and staying healthy in a general sense in order to keep that going on.

the library was closed this weekend so today i stood in a bookstore explaining to a cashier who commented on my book looking "deep" how it was like a collage and i was following up on a note in another book. not so much depth as a tangle and a hunt. no ultimate realities. "so you're really into it," she said.

my memory is still not great so i write copious notes but the hunt was worth it, it makes much more sense now and simplifies what i need to do. that is something to feel good about. otherwise i spent half the day in the kitchen cooking for my mom and am looking forward to more time tomorrow thanks to leftovers.

08 May 2010

last year's mint has come back in a large velvety grove that pleases me immensely.
Do you have those days when walking down the street you run into someone you no longer care for and smile pleasantly, disconnectedly not caring? I then thought to myself, I am the mother of all batshit crazy and you can go fuck yourselves all fear and trembling. I made it half way.

07 May 2010

the words haven't been coming easy, have they? i've been tuned in to the little things: a tiny vase of lily of the valley on my writing desk, the cat purring against my chest, waiting for my new teapot to be delivered. it's going to get better.

05 May 2010

Am having one of those days when my spirit feels crushed. I lay back down under the duvet to warm up, as a symptom of a crushed spirit is becoming very cold. Now I am up again, going to try something again.

30 April 2010

omg phenomenology! the motherload of lectures in postmodern theology.

29 April 2010

I mentally refer to my mom and sister as "my little rain clouds."
just ranted; feel much better and more able to be a better person.
it is incredibly freeing to have written and discovered that my frustration at certain issues is not psychosis related, some things drive me nuts no matter what is going on. hurray!

28 April 2010

i wake up in the morning and make coffee. it's decaf now, my body is rejecting caffeine with a searing ache along my muscles. outside a row of leafy chard has survived the winter and is almost ready for a second spring supper. the cat ventures out, nuzzles a stone rabbit and lays down in the grass. my head feels fuzzy. i haven't felt so insecure in a long time and shifting approaches in order to get what i need done feels like an effort.

26 April 2010

i like it when i go to the cat place and they all come and sit around me in a semi-circle. we discuss their problems in hushed tones and some of them require a snuggle. taking care of the cats is easily the most soothing work i've done, even when they are stinky and vomit-covered.

23 April 2010

i hate that i've made this my psych blog, and that psych stuff is enough on my mind to warrant as much. i feel like i never even get around to asking good questions about it either. it's painful, i'm sorry.
my paychiatrist's loudness incites my bitchiness. after i leave. it is awful and i hate it.
i finally went and did the mri study last week. the lady giving the test was very nice and had a piece of black coral in her wedding ring. i had to think of definitions of words, completing the sentence, "something you..." while looking at pictures and then listen to definitions of words. with my head strapped down. then we did several hours of neuropsychological tests: complete these puzzles, how many numbers can you recite back in order, then in backwards order, how can you sort these cards, etc. so far the mri photos are stuck in the mri-reading software on my quite ancient and creaky pc. i can tell you that the folds in my brain are not symmetrical on the left and right sides and the pictures look a lot like rorschach blots. they come in sets that you can scroll through, in through the eyes and out through the back of the head.

other people's mri's
a brain map

22 April 2010

i've been thinking about how i often choose to do things because they are a challenge, and how it would be nice to do something because i am good at it.

right now my head is fuzzy and i am bracing for my sister's birthday party with dandelion green tea.

and now the birthday party is over and i told my mom that my sister is not necessarily demanding, she just doesn't give her any feedback and is being unfair. she said i was right and then cried.
my new clinician is from the uk. she is the least crazy-making of all of them so far.

21 April 2010

my mom goes apoplectic when talking about my sister. i asked again if my sister could please have a psychologist.
bicameral mind. weird stuff.
on the bus today an old man told me about his out of body experience. he had been 15 at the time and came to outside a car that had been hit by a drunk driver. he said he saw the tunnel but didn't know to look for the light and anyway began calling for his brothers. he told me about his seven brothers and six sisters and how his mother told him that everyone was family. he had ms and told me how he worked himself out of being scared and worried. he had a big spiritual curiosity and was devoted in his practice. he was at peace with the world and very mentally healthy, if possibly a bit lonely. he was seventy and going to buy organic broccoli for an eighty-seven year old friend. after meeting him i felt safe all day. there is relief in someone who knows what is going on.

20 April 2010

i've started applying myself whence cooking again and am pro pan sauces. you dredge chicken cutlets in flour, fry them, and then you fry capers with lemon and parsley and put them on top. serve with baked yams and wilted chard. or you fry the chicken, and then deglaze the pan with wine or chicken stock, add 1/2 cup of cream, two teaspoons of dijon, and a tablespoon of chopped tarragon and stir while it comes together. or you wrap your chicken in prociutto and sage leaves, fry it, take it out of the pan, and then make a sauce by adding a teaspoon of flour to the oil in the pan, stirring to coat, and then adding a cup of chicken stock to reduce with more chopped sage leaves. serve with roasted new potatoes and steamed beans. very elegant and Roman. there has been a lot of chicken.

18 April 2010

i feel as though i am just beginning to tap in to my store of allotted words. sad and pathetic. it's a little strange still, seeing how things come out backwards and under water, but i am a hopeful. there are times when the world feels more solid under my feet and this is definately one of them. i am trying to carry on more narratives in my head as a way of keeping my thoughts disciplined. i have a lot of naïve chitter-chatter that simultaneously charms and disappoints me. working feels good.

15 April 2010

i have separation anxiety with my cat! he wants to go outside, i fear losing my sweet and gentle best friend. for his sake, i am forcing myself to cope in increments. for my sake, i go out in the yard with him and have trained him in my preference for staying close behaviors. then i hopped the fence when he roamed into a neighbour's yard (it's an uneven grade). he came running and demonstrated that he could, if not jump, certainly climb it. crazy cat lady alert! i made sure no one was home first.

13 April 2010

Sigh - I caught this insight on the way and quickly seized the rather poor words that were closest to hand to pin it down lest it fly away again. And now it has died of these arid words and shakes and flaps in them - and I hardly know any more when I look at it how I could ever have felt so happy when I caught this bird.
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science 298

happens to me all the time - but not in words so well put.

12 April 2010

if you are a fan of anne carson, you may not know that she has a book out called nox. it is a book in a box, a reproduction of the book she made as an epitaph to her brother. i don't know that it is available in stores. she talks about history. also, she has a poem in the 25 february issue of the london review of books. it took me two weeks to think that anyone might care, but you might.
it seems i become almost totally silent when i am working. apparently i've hardly spoken in weeks and it is a concern. but i am well, and work is going well.

11 April 2010

"Redemption" is the official doctrine preached by those ("psychological types") whose hypersensitivity to the given manifests itself as an incapacity for resistance. Reactive irritability becomes the conformism which is elsewhere the mark of pity: an intolerance to resistance (Widerstand), a warning against (Widerraten) resistance (Widerstreben), a resistance to resistance.

Rebecca Comay, "Redeeming Revenge: Nietzsche, Benjamin, Heidegger, and the Politics of Memory," Nietzsche as Postmodernist: Essays pro and contra. Ed. Clayton Koelb. SUNY, 1990: 21-38 and notes. (35)

my problem exactly.
talking to a psychiatrist feels like having a bird crap on my head. i'm continually looking up, ducking and searching for hidden messages.
optometrist told me about eyes bleeding today. she was very quick.

07 April 2010

i had been looking and hoping for a teacher when megan appeared with longer journal entries...

06 April 2010

beings that we call trees have evolved several times from different ancestors, whereas beings like ciliates, grasses or (for that matter) primates have evolved only once.
i was standing in line at the grocery store when a green parrot swooped in, landed on the magazine rack beside me, and said "hello" when addressed.
[James] Joyce's daughter Lucia was diagnosed with hebephrenic [disorganized] schizophrenia at the age of 25. Two years later, in desperation, Joyce took her to [Carl] Jung's clinic in Zurich, 'even though Jung had written negatively about Ulysses.' Joyce believed that Lucia was creative like him. Jung concluded that father and daughter were like two people going to the bottom of the sea, 'one falling, one diving'. In other words, Joyce was in control of his unusual ideas and could use them creatively; Lucia's ideas were out of control and could not be used. Lucia spent the rest of her life in and out of various mental hospitals. She died in St Andrew's Hospital in Northamptom.
Christopher Frith and Eve Johnstone,"Intellectual Functioning in Schizophrenia," Schizophrenia: a very short introduction. Oxford, 2003: 47-71. (70)

for more on lucia, see also

05 April 2010

[André Gide not only reshaped, but simultaneously criticized Nietzsche in] the novel Les caves du Vatican (Lafcadio's adventures) of 1914, famous for its depiction of a "gratuitous act" without premeditation, without any intention, advantage, or purpose, performed on impulse and possibly to gratify a desire for sensation. Lafcadio, the handsome young Nietzschean immoralist protagonist, had acted several times in a "gratuitous" way. Once at the risk of his life, he had rescued two little children from a burning house in Paris, but to show that the gratuitous act has nothing to do with morality, he also once acted differently while on a train to Rome. Opposite to him in his compartment was a bourgeois fellow, pedantically dressed, sweating a little, and constantly fumbling with his nose.

Counting to ten, Lafcadio opened the door of the car and pushed the man to death just as if he had chased away a fly. When his friend is later arrested for the deed, Lafcadio takes full responsibility, however, indicating that there really is no gratuitous act. Gidé's depiction of the murder is so stylized, so stereotypical and artificial that we are aware of seeing not real life at all, but literature. One can write about the gratuitous act, but not live it, for writing about it already demonstrates that it is unreal. Immoralism, like vitalism, requires counteraction, a corrective, an oscillation to its opposite, for it to become real and emerge from caricature.
Ernst Behler, "Nietzsche in the twentieth century," The Cambridge Companion to Nietzsche. 1996: 281-322. (297)
The foregoing considerations reveal a paradox in the research and clinical representation of the subjective experience of emotion among persons with schizophrenia. They are represented as "vacant," without emotional register, dull, flat - yet they are exquisitely sensitive to socioemotional communications.
Janis Hunter Jenkins, "Schizophrenia as a Paradigm Case for Understanding Fundamental Human Processes," Schizophrenia, Culture and Subjectivity. Eds. Janis Hunter Jenkins and Robert John Barrett. Cambridge, 2004: 29-61. (43)

04 April 2010

my grandma is mean to my sister and my married-in-to-the-family aunt and gives them jewelry. i don't know what to say so i pass under the radar. i should probably pay more attention now that i know. the remarks are so cutting it is disorienting. oma got called out today.
started off easter morning reading georges bataille in snake skin shoes. my work shoes.

03 April 2010

i feel permanently fuzzy, like being a bit drunk, and my aesthetic sense is wrecked.

02 April 2010

the cat can smell that i'm hurt and sits close by. my brain won't work and i'm so angry i'm as close to crying as i get, wet eyes and a pinch in my throat.

01 April 2010

instructions for growing horseradish and other herbaceous things.

31 March 2010

the neuropsychologist mostly said a lot of nothing, and a lot of, you're not so smart. he did, though, help me be less afraid of whatever it is that happens by describing my attention to detail as the same thing that happens when i am being smart.

30 March 2010

i have poor judgment. i think my current psychiatrist is, "kind of brutal," by temperament and because of this i don't quite trust her. people pretend to be my former psychologist to see if i will love them, but it only lasts until i catch on. i am a wee bit pathetic in these ways.
saw the neuropsychologist today. he says i'm not going to be a fortune teller. it doesn't matter if it's what i want, i don't know what people generally find most important, and emotions are something i tune out first of all. so not a fortune teller.

29 March 2010

i got caught in a downpour today. a man on a street corner shared his umbrella.

28 March 2010

I had the luck to be part of [Nietzsche's] career at the university, when, during the winter semester of 1872-73 I took a three-hour lecture course on the rhetoric of the Greeks and Romans with him. As a citizen of Basel, I am still overcome with shame when I think that such an important faculty member only found two students, one of whom was a student of German, the other a student of law. And this was the only one of his announced courses which was actually held. No wonder that our beloved professor, whose health was already precarious, soon requested that we hear the rest of the lectures in his apartment. Thus we found ourselves three evenings a week in his familiarly elegant home for this lecture course. There we listened to him by lamplight and noted down the bon mots he dictated from his soft, red leather notebook. Here too he often stopped in the midst of a lecture, either to think or to give us time to process what we had heard. He was generous enough to offer us a beer, a Culmbacher, which he would drink out of a silver cup. From the size of my notes - eighty-four cramped quarto pages - one can imagine the rich content of the lectures, perhaps even more so from the following titles of the various subsections: [...]

Even though the professor's lecture during each of the hours concentrated exclusively on the announced theme, there were still occasions, before or after the lectures, where we exchanged many a humourous or serious word with him on all sorts of topics. It is evident that I never once missed these lectures and still more evident was the professor's grade: "Attended with hard work and success, F.N."

Ludwig Wilhelm Kelterborn-Fischer [1853-1910], later a writer

27 March 2010

i've been looking, looking, looking and trying to engage but it has all failed. maybe if i turn away for a while...